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Remembering the staples will keep the party food festive and tasty

POSTED: March 2, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/Associated Press

These golden shrimp are served a sweet-and-spicy sauce made with hot pepper sauce, mayonnaise and honey, all spiked with a Cajun seasoning blend.

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During the next week, thousands of faithful and partygoers alike will descend upon New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras celebration.

The holiday, which translated from its native French to English means fat Tuesday, has become synonymous with food, fun and celebrations in the street.

Even if you can't make it to Louisiana, you can still partake in the festivities, as long as you remember the staples.

Once you start thinking about Mardi Gras celebrations on the Gulf Coast, it won't be long before you've got shrimp on your mind.

The preparation for these party-perfect crispy shrimp with spicy Cajun sauce is somewhat similar to how you might make Buffalo wings. Raw shrimp are dredged in a seasoned mixture of flour, cornstarch and beaten egg, which gets wonderfully crispy when deep fried.

The golden shrimp are served with a sweet-and-spicy sauce made with hot pepper sauce, mayonnaise and honey, all spiked with a Cajun seasoning blend. The results are as irresistible as a basket of hot wings and even better, there are no bothersome bones to get rid of.

To round out your Mardi Gras menu, add a few Gulf Coast favorites like jambalaya and crawfish to your buffet.

While planning your Mardi Gras celebration, don't forget to incorporate the traditional colors - purple, gold and green.

Purple represents justice, gold for power and green for faith. Party supply stores will be stocked with colored napkins, plates, cups and of course, beads.

And no Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without a king cake.

Traditional versions are a simple circle of twisted strands of buttery dough spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with a sugar icing. And while those ingredients still represent the dominant king cake, each year sees more variations as bakers pump them full of fruits, cheeses, chocolate and other flavors.

"The filled king cake trend started in the 1970s," says Liz Williams, president of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans.

"People wanted things that were sweeter and sweeter, and bakers wanted to be different. Before that, king cakes looked the same and were pretty much the same."

Typically, the king cake baker hides a plastic baby, coin or bean inside the pastry. Whoever stumbles upon the trinket in their slice of cake is said to be blessed with good luck until the next Mardi Gras.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

 



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